College sports are big business, and they're becoming more popular with each passing year. Whether it's football, basketball, baseball, or something else entirely, you can find fans of nearly every sport in college and you can find the school that best matches your preferences if you're willing to look around. But which sports are most popular? Which sports are played at the highest level in the biggest number of schools? And how have these sports changed over time? The following lists will answer all of these questions, starting with the 5 most popular sports in college.
Football is the sport that most people think of when they hear the words "college sports." It's one of the most popular sports in general, but it's especially popular among college students, who have time during the school year to attend games on a regular basis. It's also a game with a lot of tradition and pageantry, so people get excited about it even when they aren't attending in person. Despite the slowness of the game, it's also one that can be fun to watch from home. If you want to watch college football on television, you have more than 60 channels and over a dozen different games per week. You'll also find scores for every game and statistics for each team.
It may not be as popular as football, but basketball is still an enormous part of college life. If you don't regularly attend a game or two, there are plenty of places online where you can watch games in progress or review past games, so it isn't hard to find your way around if you need to catch up on some of your favorite teams and players. The biggest and most popular games are extremely well-attended, and college basketball is usually a bigger deal than the NBA.
While it's mostly overshadowed by football and basketball, baseball is still a big deal on campus at many schools. Many dedicated fans follow baseball news throughout the year, so they know more about their favorite players than they do about the professionals. College graduates who become huge fans of one team tend to stick with it for life, so you may see some huge differences in allegiance when comparing teams that play in different conferences or even divisions.
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While it doesn't get a lot of media attention, softball is nonetheless quite popular in college. It's mostly overshadowed by baseball, but schools with strong softball programs are just as proud of them as they are of their baseball teams, and fans follow the games in much the same way, if not more so. Some sports fans would say that one sport is more exciting than the other, but there are really only minor differences between hardball and softball. They both involve teams hitting balls thrown at them by another team and trying to score runs for their side by getting them past fielders on the other side.
While it may seem odd to put tennis on this list, let me explain why I have it so high. Although there is nothing like the intensity of a football game, or the thrill of watching a baseball game in person, when most people think of college sports, they also think at least minimally of other sports as well. One thing that most people overlook is that college students play many other sports besides their main ones on campus at school. For example, a number of schools that play basketball have tennis teams as well and a number of schools with strong baseball programs will also have good softball teams as the league they are in allows for them to be formed.